The Hadley School for the Blind obtained funding from Goldman Sachs last year to start a new program devoted to helping blinded veterans. The program is called The Blinded Veterans Initiative and serves approximately 158,300 blinded veterans. It will enable these veterans to take over 100 distance education courses to improve their personal and professional lives.
Some of the courses that the initiative will fund and emphasize include Braille, Independent Living, Adjustment to Blindness, Business and Entrepreneurship, and Technology. Interestingly, before this new program Hadley offered no courses that focused on entrepreneurship, so there was nothing on how a blind person could get in to business, said Urban Miyares, founder of the Disabled Businesspersons Association and Hadley’s new Outreach Specialist. As such, Miyares had a lot of influence on developing this course. Hadley will also have a course on veteran’s benefits, which will include topics on survivors, medical benefits, as well as disability and pension benefits.
In addition to this unique program, the veterans will be able to take all the other courses that Hadley offers tuition-free, thanks to the funding by Goldman Sachs. The five year, $20 million gift was made under the direction of John Willian, a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs and a Winnetka native who is familiar with the work of the Hadley school. William says that he’d like to see veterans learn new skills; skills that they wouldn’t be able to obtain without the program.
Blinded veterans have been served by Hadley since WWI. However, with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars Hadley services have been in much higher demand and blinded veterans have been coming to gain new skills and attempt to get into the workforce.
Hadley President, Chuck Young, is looking forward to the future successes of this program and says that this partnership with Hadley and the blinded veterans will help assist them back in to the community once their service time is up.
At a time in their lives when they need help to learn new skills and get back on their feet, support for programs like this really shows our service men and women that we’re committed to taking care of them after they’ve put so much at stake for us.